Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Wet and Windy Saturday 27th feb' Biking Birder now in Exeter

 Well I was going to call this 'wet and dry' but yesterday was such a gale that the more appropriate title is above. So, many thanks to the team at Radipole/Lodmoor RSPB reserve for the welcome and accommodation. Good luck to Steve on his move to Geltsdale for the Summer. Good luck also to the RSPB with their aim of a 3% carbon cut in 2010. have a look on Google for the 10:10 carbon cut campaign from thr Age of Stupid people.

Thursday - a quick look at Ferrybridge [16 med' gulls] and Portland Harbour [9 black-necked grebes] before cycling to Abbotsbury for lunch [pate, bananas and hot cross buns] and Lyme Regis for delicious Dorset cake and custard, as well as 14 beautiful purple sandpipers tucked in on the fisherman cottages wall on the Cobb. [143 birds year list now]. It had been heavy rain most of the way and even some time in the clouds just past Abbotsbury. Got to Beer and found the Youth Hostel.

Next day entirely different and the brightness of the sun, unseen for days, was actually hurting my eyes! Went to the entrance of Beer caves which look similar in structure to Tilly Whim caves at Durlston [not that I've ever been inside those!] and other caves at Winspit; both the latter near Swanage Dorset. A large pig farm had hundreds of gulls, corvids and a good-sized flock of lapwings and these gave me an excuse to have a rest as the westerly wind was strong enough to stop me cycling.

Lunch on the extensive Aylesbeare Common RSPB reserve and only 2 birds found on the deck; a 'small' reed bunting that I tried to string into something better and a goldcrest. Otherwise a buzzard flew over and everything else was being kept down because of the gale. Cycled around to Venn Ottery RSPB reserve and similar birds here i.e. none.

Down to Bowling Green marsh, now a couple of days ahead of my schedule but with the coming Sunday's forecast being for one of the worst storms in years, feel that I need to have a 'cushion day' available. Well it's also the final Villa versus the **** in the Carling Cup Final. Please let us beat them. the dignity of Martin O'Neill versus the pathetic diatribe of the foul Fergie. Not that I'm biased but when will the FA do something to bring football back from 'cheats' thugs and foul language? I'm off on one but I would dearly love to see the beautiful game beautiful.

I digress.

Tide rising out on the Exe so waders arriving during the sunny afternoon spent in the hide. C.100 avocets flying around, sim' and more bar-tailed and black-tailed godwits, redshank and curlew with just 2 dunlin. 1 little egret, 1 pr of pintail, 7 redwing and c.250 wigeon. 3 pochard, a few tufted duck. Lovely to be having a relaxing birding time. 2 godwits were in summer plumage too.

Found the excellent youth hostel and met some of the teenagers who were on their way to take part in the South West Cross Country challenge races at Truro. Lovely, polite and interesting young adults who sat and watch france beat Wales in the Six nations rugby match.

Saturday - walked along the river walk to Exeter Cathedral, getting a soaking on the way but enjoying 2 kingfishers that allowed close views. An hour to look around the cathedral, after paying my £5 to get in.

One final thought. After having met 2 dog walkers who actually were carrying their dog's pooh. Why do some of the same throw the pooh bag into the hedges?


  1. Give us a shout when you're nearing N Somerset and I'll come and meet you (probably in a car!)

  2. Hi there Andy. Sounds great. Thanks for getting in touch. ATB Gary